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Meet the Masters: Return to Masters Homepage
Alice Clemens: Fiddler
& Music Historian, Osceola
Alice recalls her first lessons on the fiddle at age seven. Listen (Real 0:52)

Playing for dances at old-fashioned house parties. Listen (Real 0:59)

Alice explains her dislike of fiddle contests. Listen (Real 0:38)

Alice plays the traditional tune, Irish Washerwoman. Listen (Real 1:41)

Alice plays her own composition, God's Blessing on Four Strings. Listen (Real 2:44)

Alice Clemens was the subject of this May 8, 2000 profile jointly produced for radio by Traditional Arts in Upstate New York and North Country Public Radio. Listen (Real 6:30)

Alice Clemens of Osceola in the Tug Hill region started fiddling at the age of seven, learning dance tunes from a favorite uncle, Art Colvin. For most of her life, she has played for parties and country dances near home. In more recent years, however, her performing in concerts and workshops has taken her to new audiences in distant places. She has collected hundreds of nearly-forgotten tunes from old time musicians, providing the Library of Congress archives with 27 tunes thought to have disappeared from public knowledge. Alice founded the New York State Old Tyme Fiddlers Association and co-founded the North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame, which maintains an extensive archive and sponsors fiddling events each year. She is especially proud of teaching her own daughter, granddaughter, and great-grandchildren to fiddle. She often says, "If you want to have fun in life, get a fiddle in your hands."

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